Bahn Mi Sandwich


Nathan got a Bánh mì sandwich for lunch in DC last week and it was just ‘meh’…so of course we were challenged to make our own awesome version at home! Before making this Bánh mì sandwich, I thought that the sandwich was strictly a Vietnamese recipe. However, the recipe is actually a fusion of French and Vietnamese components…a direct result of French Colonialism in Vietnam and more proof that food trends can be interesting reflections and records of history. The typical French ingredients are mayo, pâté, and baguettes, while the Vietnamese bring cilantro, cucumber, jalapeño and pickled carrots to the mix. The result is an amazing party of flavors and textures that just works. For our sandwich, we brined a pork shoulder with garlic and peppers and then slow roasted the meat in the oven until it was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. We layered the pork with all the traditional Bánh mì condiments plus nuoc cham, the classic Vietnamese dipping sauce. We used a shorter and softer variation of the baguette called a Bolillo roll and it worked out perfectly! If you’ve never tried a Bánh mì sandwich or had a mediocre one, give this recipe a try!
BahnMi-035 Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Chateau Montaud 2014 Rose
Rating: 9.0 out of 10.0

This sandwich called for a rosé and this rosé definitely fit the bill! Montaud Rosé is a nice peachy-orange color and has scents of ripe melons, citrus and ripe strawberries. The flavors are light, fruity and dry with a good amount of acidity. The fruit and acidity cut through the spice and richness of the sandwich while the flavors in the sandwich pulled out the sweetness of the flavors in the wine…so good!

BahnMi-034 Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Killer Kolsch, Champion Brewing Company
Rating: 8.25 out of 10.0

I felt that this blend of Vietnamese and French cuisine needed something light and refreshing to rinse down the complex and contrasting flavors. Normally, I would pair a Vietnamese dish with a light, malty lager prevalent in Asia but as a nod to the European side of this dish I went with a Kolsch style beer which still had a little sweet maltiness to cut through the jalapeno spice but a crisp bite to it to wash down the savory pork and pate. Overall, this was a solid Kolsch with enough flavor from malt and hops to make it interesting but light enough to be a great session beer as well.


Bahn Mi Sandwich:

From this recipe.


For the pork:
10 cups simmering water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 medium serrano chiles, crushed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
3 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder

For the pickled carrots:
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups peeled and coarsely shredded carrots (from about 3 medium)

To assemble:
6-8 bolillo rolls, depending on how many people you’re serving
6 tablespoons mayonnaise (we used Hellman’s olive oil mayo)
10 ounces pork pâté
1 large English cucumber, sliced diagonally into thin pieces
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
4 jalapeños, sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
4 teaspoons light soy sauce


For the pork:
1. Pour 2 cups of the simmering water into a 6-quart heatproof container with a tight fitting lid, then remove the remaining water from heat. Add salt and sugar to the heatproof container and stir until dissolved. Add garlic, chiles, peppercorns, and pork. Top with remaining 8 cups of now-tepid water to fully cover the meat. Submerge the meat if necessary by filling a resealable bag with water and placing it on top. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
2. When the pork is ready, remove from the liquid, rinse, pat dry with paper towels, and place fat side up in a roasting pan. Allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Roast pork until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, at least 45 minutes, then slice thinly, about 1/8 inch thick.

For the pickled carrots:
1. Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat, add carrots, and stir to coat in pickling mixture. Let stand until carrots have softened, at least 30 minutes or overnight. Drain well and set aside.

To assemble:
1. Slice off the top 1/3 of the rolls lengthwise and set aside. Remove enough of the bottom interiors so that the filling can fit easily.
2. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise on each roll. Spread a thick layer of the pâté on each bottom section, then top with sliced pork, cucumber, cilantro leaves, pickled carrots, and jalapeños. Sprinkle each sandwich with soy sauce and nuoc cham and close with the upper parts of the rolls.

Nuoc Cham

From this recipe.


6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (preferably nuoc mam)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 garlic clove, forced through a garlic press
2 small thin fresh red or green Asian chilies (1 to 2 inches long) or serrano chilies, seeded and chopped fine (wear rubber gloves)


1. In a small bowl stir together all ingredients until sugar is dissolved.


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